Metrics revealed of first pan-European low-carbon label

A year after its launch at Mipim 2022, the Low Carbon Building Initiative (LCBI) has unveiled the methodology for the first pan-European low-carbon label, as part of industry efforts to reduce real estate's carbon footprint. 

Based on Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA), the methodology was established after a year of collaborative benchmarking, data analysis and expert reviews by LCBI stakeholders, which include several leading pan-European property groups.

Founding members include Covivio, Ivanhoé Cambridge, BNP Paribas Real Estate, developer WO2, fund manager Icamap, property investor NSI, Generali Real Estate and BPI, a developer active in Belgium, Poland and Luxembourg.

Building on key European standards and frameworks, the methodology fostered by LCBI aims to harmonise the use of life cycle analysis across Europe with a pure carbon indicator (kgCO2e/m2) that is consistent with local regulations.

The new LCBI label will assess buildings’ performance according to three criteria: the embodied carbon measured in kg CO2e/m² over 50 years; the operational carbon measured in kg CO2e/m²/year; and the biogenic carbon (use of bio-sourced materials) stored in the building measured in kg CO2e/m².

Christophe Kullmann, CEO of Covivio, said: ‘A year ago, several European partners with different profiles decided to join forces to create the LCBI international low-carbon initiative. As a European player strongly committed to green real estate and with an ambitious carbon trajectory since 2018, Covivio immediately joined this initiative. The work carried out over the past year will enable the first tests to be conducted in 2023 in order to experiment with the methodology developed, based on the life cycle analysis of buildings.’

The LCBI label will cover all main real estate asset classes (starting with office, hotel and residential) and address new-build, renovation, as well as in-use buildings. It will set a clear CO2 emission reduction pathway, and thereby help real estate stakeholders in understanding, tracking and planning progress in the measurement of the carbon performance of their building stock (over its whole life cycle).

In establishing the methodology, LCBI drew on the experience of French industry body Association Bâtiment Bas Carbone (BBCA), a pioneer in measuring buildings’ life cycle carbon emissions in France. More than 450 projects, representing 3,000,000 m² have been or are in the process of being labelled by the BBCA. The methodology developed by BBCA inspired the French low carbon real estate regulation (RE2020), which was implemented at the beginning of 2022.

Stéphane Villemain, head of sustainable investment, Ivanhoé Cambridge, said: "We are thoroughly pleased, as founding supporters of this European project, to witness a new stage of the development of the LCBI label. We strongly believe that this initiative is critical for considering emissions throughout the buildings life cycle, using a standard and a benchmark that are not tied to country-specific regulations”.

Arnaud Regout, president of LCBI’s advisory committee and chief investment officer at BPI Real Estate (CFE Group) noted: ‘Decarbonisation of real estate is key to fighting climate change and we must act on a European scale to build a sustainable future for the industry. As the first pan-European low carbon level, the LCBI label is a real opportunity to promote good low carbon practices in our sector and will become a useful reporting tool for mixed-use.’

Olivier Bokobza, CEO of property development at BNP Paribas Real Estate, commented: ‘We are aware of the real estate sector’s carbon footprint and so we believe it is our responsibility to take action to help meet the current climate and environmental challenges… We are convinced that a joint action will significantly reduce buildings’ carbon impact and help make the city more sustainable. This is the reason why we commit ourselves and all our teams in Europe to the European LCBI framework.’

In a next step, more than 10 sponsors’ buildings will be assessed as ‘pilot operations’ in order to release a first version of the LCBI label, initially focusing on new-built properties. Ratings are expected to be revealed by the end of 2023.

Details of the LCBI methodology will be explained via a webinar in April.


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